Philadelphia Police said the release of surveillance video in the case of the brutal brick attack of a Temple University student by a gang of teenage girls has led to arrests.
A 15-year-old girl has been arrested Tuesday and is expected to be charged with aggravated assault for allegedly hitting a 19-year-old Temple University student in the face with the brick, nearly knocking her teeth out. That alleged assault took place on Friday evening, police said.
Four other teens, a 17-year-old, two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old, have also been taken into custody related to the assault. Detectives say these teens may also be arrested soon.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Capt. Frank Banford, commanding officer of Philadelphia Police's Central Detective Division said two teens turned themselves into police after surveillance video from near the attack was posted online on Monday night.
The arrest came four days after the unprovoked brick attack took place near 17th and Norris Streets, just off of Temple University's main campus in North Philadelphia.
The 19-year-old woman, who spoke exclusively to NBC10.com, was walking with her 20-year-old boyfriend around 6 p.m. on Friday evening when she says a group of girls and boys began taunting and touching them. When they pushed back, the girls allegedly started swinging.
“My boyfriend pushed the girl away from me that hit me in the face and then the girl’s sister came at me with a brick,” said the victim, who asked that we not share her identity.
The woman was hit twice in the face with the brick, the impact nearly knocking out her teeth. The assault forced her to get emergency surgery.
Speaking with the woman on Tuesday, she tells NBC10.com that she's doing better. She now has braces on her teeth to keep them in place.
Police say there were two other attacks that took place within minutes of the brick attack.
NBC10.com talked to another Temple student, a 20-year-old junior, who said she was walking down her street when she was punched by a several girls. That alleged attack took place along the 1700 block of Willington Street, which runs behind Philadelphia Police's 22nd District headquarters, around 5:45 p.m. on Friday -- just 15 minutes before the brick attack.
The co-ed said she was typing a text message to a friend and when she looked up, the girls attacked.
“I typed [the message] and lifted my head to start walking again and as I lifted my head up, there was a girl coming at me, swinging at me, and I was able to lean back. She barely hit my chin, and then she swung again and hit my mouth area and my neck and I was able to shove her away and sprint away,” said the woman who also asked that we do not share her identity.
Banford said the girls are also responsible for a third attack at 17th and Cecil B. Moore Streets in which they allegedly assaulted another woman who is a Temple University student.
Detectives said the motive for the alleged attacks is currently unclear. They are also investigating how the girls met, because, police say, they all go to different high schools.
A LACK OF INFORMATION?
Temple University has come under fire from students and parents following NBC10.com's coverage of the attacks. A number of students said they were frustrated the university did not notify them about the off-campus assaults.
"They can't honestly expect us to feel protected when they don't even let us know when one of our own students is getting hurt," said Jamie Fitzgerald, a junior.
Calley Rodden, a senior who lives two blocks off campus, said the university gave her the impression that off-campus safety was a priority, but she feels otherwise after learning about attacks like these through news sites like NBC10.com.
"This stuff happens and we just don't know about it because they don't tell us. We find out through the grapevine," she said. "And if you live on campus, how would you know."
Temple University has a 130 officer police force, according to its website. The department also has 63 security staff and 250 private security guards.
A Temple spokesperson said the university's westerly jurisdiction ends at 16th Street and that the school pays the Philadelphia Police Department $1 million a year to enhance security in the neighborhoods around campus. Officials say off-campus is Philadelphia Police's territory.
The editorial board of The Temple News, the student-run newspaper, ran an op-ed on Tuesday criticizing the Temple administration's dissemination of information related to several crime incidents on and around the university's campus recently.
The editors said the university should also be sharing information about crime issues in the surrounding neighborhoods where many students live.
"Temple should be doing everything in its power to build a stronger alert network that includes both local and campus police so that threats in the expanding university area can be notified to the student body as soon as possible," the editorial read.
Temple University did send out a campus-wide email on Monday evening explaining why they did not alert the university community about the attacks.
In the message, university officials explained that they were not made aware of the brick attack until hours after it happened and that the school's "TU Alert" system is reserved for imminent dangers and threats, like bomb threats or an active shooter.
Temple spokesman Ray Betzner tells NBC10.com the university has no immediate plans to review its notification procedures. He says that could come at the end of the semester when officials typically review all university procedures.
Late Tuesday, university officials announced they would be adding additional patrols in the neighborhoods where the attacks took place.
In an email to the campus community obtained by NBC10.com, James Creedon, SVP for Construction, Facilities and Operations, said the school would immediately be adding bike patrols off-campus on its western edge and be adding help from Philadelphia Police and Pennsylvania State Police.
"Provide additional resources from the Philadelphia Police Department to patrol off campus areas particularly later in the evening; when necessary, provide additional resources from the Pennsylvania State Police to assist in patrolling area and increase the use of Temple police undercover officers to monitor for suspicious behavior," he wrote.